Types & Uses of Scalpel Blades

Written by neal litherland
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Types & Uses of Scalpel Blades
There are a number of different types of scalpels for different applications. (disposable scalpel image by alma_sacra from Fotolia.com)

Scalpels are small, precision knives that come in a large number of varieties. Each different type of scalpel has a different purpose and use, though some people may prefer one type of scalpel over another type for their own private use. Whether you're a surgeon or a woodcarver though, scalpels are often the perfect tool for the job.

Retractable Scalpels

Retractable scalpels function similarly to razor knives and box cutters. These scalpels have plastic handles with blades that retract into the handle with the press of a switch. They are oiften disposable, one-piece units that are meant to be thrown away once they've been used. Retractable scalpels were originally designed for use by doctors to prevent accidental lacerations in a hospital setting.

Craft and Hobby Blades

Arts and crafts scalpels usually have pen-like handles and short, sharp blades that can be changed out when they get too dull for a given craft or activity. The blades tend to have a flat spine, a straight point and a straight underside. The blade is shaped like a triangle, which is different from common medical scalpel blades which are typically curved.

Surgical Scalpels

Traditional surgical scalpels come in two different parts; the blade and the handle. Surgical blades come in a variety of sizes and shapes depending on the medical need of the surgeon, though they typically have a straight flat back and a curved edge for cutting. The handle tends to be square or round and made of metal. There are clamps near the blade that open to allow the blade to be changed.

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